Poet LLC, the largest U.S. producer of corn-based ethanol, will use technology from Agrivida Inc. to develop processes to turn crop waste into biofuel.
Poet, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is seeking to implement Agrivida’s systems for processing corn stover, the stalks and leaves that remain after the crop is harvested, in its existing cellulosic ethanol process, according to a statement today.
Poet has operated a cellulosic ethanol pilot plant since 2008 and its first commercial facility is expected to begin production next year in Iowa. The Agrivida technology may reduce the cost of converting plants into fuel, Wade Robey, chief technology officer for closely held Poet, said in the statement.
“If successful, Agrivida’s novel approach to increase the functionality and value delivery of corn stover will work well with other technologies being developed by Poet,” he said.
Agrivida is developing seeds that make plants easier to break down than traditional crops and systems to convert them into fermentable sugars, according to the company’s website.
Poet’s cellulosic technology may be used to produce as much as 1 billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of ethanol a year if deployed at all of its 27 corn-based biofuel plants, according to the statement.
An estimated 160 million to 250 million dry tons of corn stover is available each year for processing, Medford, Massachusetts-based Agrivida said. That’s enough to produce as much as 25 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels or chemicals.